LINGLE – Coming out of Christmas break, the Lingle-Fort Laramie boys’ basketball team knew they would have their hands full against the Crawford (Neb.) Rams and the Guernsey-Sunrise Vikings.
“We told the kids they were going to be better than they were last year,” L-FL coach Steve Zimmerman said. “I think both teams – being Guernsey and Crawford – played well.”
When the final horn sounded on Saturday afternoon in Lingle, the Doggers had come away with a weekend sweep, defeating Crawford, 56-47, and Guernsey, 55-36.
“I thought we showed some really good signs at times,” Zimmerman said. “I was pleased with a lot of the execution we did. There are a few things we still need to clean up.”
On Friday, senior Caeden Riley put the Doggers in front 2-0, and L-FL never trailed the remainder of the game.
Lingle’s lead reached 20 early in the fourth quarter, but Crawford’s Will Ackerman got hot from deep.
The Doggers saw a 44-24 lead evaporate to 47-40 five minutes later.
“That Ackerman kid just absolutely lit it up,” Zimmerman said. “The problem was, we were trying to deny him the ball, but the guys that were guarding him, didn’t start playing defense until he caught it. Then they were trying to recover. He’s too good of a shooter to let that happen.”
Riley put a halt to the Rams run with an old-fashioned 3-point play, pushing L-FL lead back to double-digits.
Riley led L-FL with 25 points, while senior Baily Powell and junior Cordell Forkner added 10 points each. Powell grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds.
The next day, the Doggers jumped out to 20-4 lead, cruising to a 19-point victory over the Vikings.
Zimmerman saw many great things from his team over the weekend.
“This weekend, Bailey Powell played tremendously. He had 14, 15 rebounds each night and he stayed under control defensively. Caeden Riley stayed under control defensively. Caeden scored well. (On Friday), Cordell played well,” he said. “Our bench is doing some really good things. We need to find a little more scoring from our bench.”
Riley led the Doggers with 26 points, while Powell added 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Junior Cooper Hill had seven points and four assists.
The Doggers (6-3) wraps up the week on the road in Lusk.
“They played some good ball before Christmas, but they had a tough weekend (at the Taco John’s Classic in Cheyenne),” Zimmerman said. “They are built very much like us.”